The Psychological Impact of a Car Crash

Most of us have been involved in a minor fender bender at some point in our lives. We pull over, exchange information with the other party and go about our business. No police, no injury and minimal property damage, if any. Unfortunately, in some of these minor crashes there are soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains and contusions for which medical treatment is required. In other cases injuries can be catastrophic such as multiple bone fractures, head trauma and spinal cord injuries. But what about the psychological impact of a car crash? You might expect to have some anxiety or fear of driving or being a passenger for a few weeks following the crash. But what if the anxiety doesn’t go away? What if you experience other symptoms such as depression, mood swings, insomnia, flashbacks and nightmares? You could be suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following a traumatic event such as military combat, natural disasters, serious accidents or physical or sexual assault. Symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but may not appear until months or years later.

I am amazed at the number of clients I have that tell me they experience anxiety and distress while driving after being involved in a car crash. It is important to seek proper medical care following a car crash, including care for psychological symptoms. It is just as important to address your mental health as it is to address your physical injuries. Finding a therapist who specializes in treating people who have experienced a trauma can make a significant impact on your recovery. After therapy you may be able to return to driving or riding in a car with less anxiety and you may experience less intensity of the other symptoms, like nightmares or insomnia. We want you to feel better, so please seek help when you need it. At WilliamsFord, we hope that you can return to your pre-injury status, both physically and mentally.

Read the article below for more information on car crash related PTSD, including risk factors and available treatment.


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